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A former police officer has been jailed after he was busted trying to meet a girl for sex at a KFC restaurant.
Alex Foster, 43, had planned to meet the child, whom he believed was 15, after unknowingly speaking to a decoy profile online.
The Northamptonshire officer had been participating in "highly sexual online conversations and exchanges of images" with the profile.
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But he was unaware that he had actually been engaging in conversation with an undercover officer the whole time from July 27 this year.
It ended with Foster being arrested by awaiting officers in the car park of the takeaway in Newark on August 10, where his mobile phone was seized.
Foster had been in a police safety training instructor role since 2013. He had also served in the Special Constabulary, rising to the post of Inspector before resigning in 2021.
He was jailed at Lincoln Crown Court for two years for attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, reports NorthansLive.
He was also handed a concurrent six-month sentence for intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, contrary to section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2003 and arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, contrary to section 14(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003
Foster admitted all three offences at a hearing in September and was sentenced on Thursday, November 17.
Jailing him, Recorder James House KC told the defendant he was in a position of trust and his offences were bound to impact public perception.
He added: “You knew perfectly well that communicating with a 15-year-old girl was not only wrong but unlawful.”
Foster was also handed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register.
He resigned from the force last month – the day before a gross misconduct hearing arranged by Northamptonshire Police.
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Speaking after the sentence, DI Kim Jackson, from the Force’s Counter-Corruption team, said: “We are pleased with today’s outcome which reflects the gravity of these appalling offences and follows an investigation by the team which, ultimately, uncovered someone who was seeking to have sexual relations with a child.
"The sentence today reflects the seriousness of these offences and demonstrates how this force will stop at nothing to root out police officers and staff whose conduct falls below the line or, as in this case, is wholly criminal.”
Foster’s conviction followed an operation by Northamptonshire Police’s Counter-Corruption team under the direction of the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
IOPC Director of Major Investigations, Steve Noonan said: “Mr Foster’s actions were abhorrent in sexually communicating online with a person he believed to be a child and then arranging and travelling to meet them for sexual purposes.
"He has rightly received a prison sentence for his appalling behaviour. We directed the investigation by Northamptonshire Police’s counter-corruption unit and I am grateful to their officers for their professionalism in helping to bring this offender to justice.”
Foster will also be added to the College of Policing barred list. This prevents future employment with the police service.
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